Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pittsburgh, or Mayberry

I woke up at 4:30 this morning. I was very glad I did it!
I stumbled out and walked around the corner to a hotel where they said taxis were parked 24 hours. There were none there. But one came about 10 seconds later.
I managed to thrust my bag into the trunk and the driver starts adding extra charges, $3 worth. I asked him why and he mumbled something about having a bag. So because of my suitcase I was charged an extra $3? I think it was the white tax, and the tourist tax.
So when I got to the station, I sincerely thanked him and then he tried to make off without giving me change.
The only bus that has left on time this whole trip was the one I missed by 2 minutes in New York City. Anyway, I slept most of the way, it was ok.
I get to Pittsburgh and nothing. I'm in the middle of nowhere, I can't even see a road, no transit, no taxis. I asked a couple people where the transit was, no one knew. I had to hurry as it was already 1:15 and the Warhol museum closes at 5.
I found some taxi numbers on the wall, 3 of them, and called them all. The first one was long distance, the other two didn't work. I went to the ticket counter and begged for help. The woman behind the counter had a harem of men she wanted to call who drove cabs and called them all. The fourth one said yes and 45 minutes later a car pulls up with a driver who looks like he just got out of San Quentin, not a taxi. I strapped my seatbelt on a prayed for my life.
I get to the hotel at about 2:30:

Notice how it also is in the middle of nowhere. The woman says I have to sit down and wait until check in time at 3 pm. I asked if I could leave my bags as I had to get to the Warhol museum and she relents and gives me a room. I quickly hook up my computer at 2:52 and find there's a bus at 2:57 so I run out the door but I don't know which side of the street to stand on. I run back in to ask and the woman is on a personal call talking about her man getting out of prison. Does anyone understand the concept I'm in a hurry?
So I step outside and pick a side of the road and watch the bus go by on the other side. Sigh.
I went back in the lobby and asked the woman to call a taxi. Now she's busy being yelled at by the manager but she manages to call. 10 minutes go by and I ask how long they said it was going to be. "Oh, 45 minutes" she says. "It is rush hour!" It's 3:10 pm. Sigh.
So I told them to cancel it, hop on the bus and get to the museum at 4. Some things I saw on the way:

Once inside there's nobody at the ticket desk and people walking all over. I figured maybe they had that thing where the last hour was free and I couldn't really afford the $15 so I head over to the elevator and press up. I'm like, "Come on, come on!" and just as it arrives, this woman comes over and asks if I paid. D'oh. Embarrassing. I was so close!
I've got like $68 on my card and the room tomorrow is $54. Tax and exchange... with luck it will go through.
You're not allowed to take pictures of course but I found this on the net:

Eleven Elvis's, in silver representing the silver screen. The Museum was great, even though I saw it on the run. Warhol was shot by a violent lesbian feminist and a movie was made about it called "I Shot Andy Warhol" which I now want to see. He was close friends with Dorothy Kilgallen from "What's My Line?" and they talked on the phone daily which I never knew. They had an excellent Polaroid Warhol took of Keith Haring and a post card from Keith Haring to Warhol while on vacation. Here's another photo of them, not one from the exhibition:

Warhol kept boxes of paper and notes and letters and this postcard from Haring was found in one of them. Warhol had 600 boxes at his death and only 90 have been opened so next year the museum will be opening them and cataloging them, they say it will take until 2012.
I was wondering why I've never seen a Warhol of James Dean and found this on the net:

Is it really Warhol? It looks like him, but what about the Asian symbols? Were they added later or are they part of it for some reason? Don't know. And why have I never seen it?
They also had works by new artists and local artists, really a great place, I could have spent all day. In the end they ended up throwing me out of the gift shop to close.

I had a little time to kill before the game so I walked the route back to the bus. When I got on the bus I asked when the last one back was and the driver said "Oh, at least 10." Turns out it was 9:30.
The subway is free and unmaned but I found a map of the bus route and schedule and tried to find out where the bus would be and found out. On the way I walked over the bridge and saw the ball park:

and this cool building:

and I sat in this park with this sculpture, part paying homage to the working man and part dreaming of being somewhere tropical with palm trees:

and this rabbit was eating grass in the park, he kept me company which was cool:

The bunny is in the bottom right corner:

Anyway finally got to the park:

It was quite nice with a great view of the city behind it:

Check out the building on the right, it looks like a castle:

They were quite big on the pirate theme being the "Pittsburgh Pirates" and all:

I sat really close for $27 which was good:

Here they have the ushers 'show' people to their seats in the lower levels and they expect a tip afterward but I haven't given one yet. How much? It seems silly.
I forgot Adam LaRoche is now a Pirate and was looking forward to seeing him but the radio said he was injured and should be back tomorrow so I missed him, but his brother Andrew was there.

I left after the 7th inning and listened to the game on the walk back to the bus stop. Pirates won 5-2. None of the stands sold souvenir cups so I thought I was SOL but as I was walking out I saw a plastic cup with the Pirates logo on it so I grabbed it. Someone may have said "Hey!" and a child may have started crying but I was late and figured it could have been about something else so I made a beeline.
Upon arriving at the stop I noticed a road was closed and the bus could not follow the route on the map. Then I noticed that none of the streets had street signs, common in the States, so I had no idea where the bus was going to stop. So I ran back and forth between two possible options and asked 3 policemen and four bus drivers and none of them knew. But I did catch the bus and all is well.
It's like 2:15, I've really taken advantage of FINALLY having the internet again but I gotta sleep!
Tomorrow morning I get up at 9, repack my bags and have breakfast and then the man from San Quentin is coming back to pick me up at 11, check-out time. My bus leaves at 1:20 so judging by how slow these people go, that should leave me enough time to call another cab if he doesn't show. His price was only $15 and he didn't expect a tip and the drive was kind of far so I figured I couldn't be picky.
Then off to Cleveland, arriving at 4. I can't afford to stay the weekend after all so I should be leaving at 11:30 am on Friday and home Friday night. I can't believe it, it feels like I'll never be home!
Turns out being on vacation is more fun when you have money, who knew?


Anonymous said...

The castle building is the PPG building. My grandfather used to be an administrator there....

PS - I live in Baltimore and there isn't like a gay village or anything... At night there might be a total of 10 gay bars but only a few that you would probably go to...

liz & adrian said...

hey that building with the arch in it is the hotel where adrian and I stayed and ran into John Waters.

when are you back in toronto?